Dehydration from a lack of fluid (water) intake or eating very salty foods raises histamine levels in the body. In turn, raised histamine levels in the blood lead to higher adrenaline levels. Evidence exists that high adrenaline levels are a precursor to panic attacks.
It makes sense, anxiety is a stress event hence, anxiety raises adrenaline by encouraging the adrenal glands to release this stress hormone. Just thinking, that an anxious person who does not drink enough water and/or has a high salt diet, might contribute to ongoing panic attacks unknowingly.
Dehydration is a common problem today, where people rather reach for soft drinks or even coffee as a thirst quencher. Our western diet is also very high in salt. Remember also, that MSG is a salty substance to enhance the flavour and colour of foods and is a common ingredient, especially in fast and snack foods.
Dehydration also raises the lactic acid concentration in the blood stream and the brain. The problem here is that increased acidity in the nerve junctions of the brain stimulates the fear and anxiety response (including hyperventilation). And voila, adrenaline release is again stimulated and sets the person up for a panic attack.
I have recently done a Bioimpedance Analysis on the patients in my Wellbeing Group at a local Mental Health facility. The most common diagnosis in the current group is depression and anxiety – yes you guessed it, every single person in this group showed as dehydrated. All also had varying deficiencies of Magnesium and Potassium, both mineral deficiencies are indicated in depression.
It just highlights the importance of a healthy diet, drinking enough plain water for your size and consulting a trained natural practitioner, before you reach for pharmaceuticals.
If you suffer from anxiety and panic attacks you may want to give the water a go. One of my patients now swears by drinking a glass or two of water every time she starts feeling anxious (remember, anxiety also induces perspiration, which translates into body fluid loss), she has not had a panic attack since.
Just a side thought on histamine – many people try to treat their depression with naturals, often minus the input of a trained Naturopath. What the sales person in the Health Food Shop often does not know, is that a component in the St. Johns Wort plant has a histamine like effect – hence the herbs working to ‘up’ the mood.
If you suffer from anxiety with your depression you run into dire straits, because the histamine response increases the anxiety and a hypomanic or anxious feeling becomes a new problem. So a trained Naturopath would prescribe quite a different herb for a person with depression and anxiety.
Panic attacks can cause havoc in life and sometimes lead to isolation and loneliness.
Wishing you the best of health this weekend and always 🙂